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Republican senator to seek Trump’s tax returns if House Democrats do

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Republican senator to seek Trump's tax returns if House Democrats do

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top Republican on tax policy in the U.S. Senate said on Wednesday that he will seek President Donald Trump’s tax returns if Democrats in the House of Representatives obtain them.

FILE PHOTO – U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) leaves the Senate Chamber during the debate over the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters that he has no particular interest in requesting the documents from the Treasury Department and does not want to see the Internal Revenue Service used for political purposes.

“If the House of Representatives are going to get them, then I want the Senate Finance Committee to have them,” said Grassley, who as the Finance chairman is the only lawmaker in the Senate authorized to request confidential tax records from U.S. Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“I don’t want what … the House Democrats are using the IRS for – for political purposes,” he added. “If they get them, we’ll just ask for them.”

A Grassley spokesman said the Iowa Republican believes that both chambers should have access to Trump’s returns as a way of maintaining proper checks and balances.

Federal law authorizes the chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee and the nonpartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation to seek confidential tax information from the Treasury.

Representative Richard Neal, the Democratic Ways and Means chairman, is preparing to request Trump’s returns as part of an oversight effort by Democrats to determine whether the president has complied with U.S. tax laws or has conflicts of interest stemming from his global business empire. Democrats want to release the documents to the public.

However, Grassley believes individual tax returns obtained by Congress should be kept confidential and used to inform legislation, not for oversight, his spokesman said.

Democrats took control of the House last year in an election marked by voter opposition to Trump. The Senate remains under Republican leadership.

As a presidential candidate in 2016, Trump broke with decades of precedent by refusing to release his tax returns. He has continued to keep them under wraps as president, saying they are under audit by the IRS.

But in congressional testimony last week, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said he does not believe Trump faces an IRS audit and said the president refused to release his returns because he feared it would lead to an audit and tax penalties.

Cohen also testified that Trump has altered the value of some of his property holdings to obtain lower tax bills and once called the federal government stupid for giving him a $10 million tax refund after he slashed the salaries of his workers.

Reporting by David Morgan in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish

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Trump says he doesn’t mind if public sees Mueller’s Russia probe report

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Trump says he doesn't mind if public sees Mueller's Russia probe report

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs on travel to Ohio at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he does not mind if the public is allowed to see the report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is preparing about his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and any possible links to the Trump campaign.

Mueller is expected to send his report to Attorney General William Barr soon.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Tim Ahmann

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Cindy McCain shares hateful message she received about her family, late husband, after latest attack from President Trump

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Cindy McCain shares hateful message she received about her family, late husband, after latest attack from President Trump

Cindy McCain shared a hateful message she received on Facebook from a stranger the same day President Donald Trump continued his attacks on her late husband, John McCain.

McCain, 64, posted a screenshot of the disgusting comment she was sent by a stranger, identified in the picture as “Tiffany Nicole.”

“I want to make sure all of you could see how kind and loving a stranger can be. I’m posting her note for her family and friends could see,” McCain wrote in a tweet accompanying the image.

The sender called McCain a vile name, labeled John McCain as “traitorous” and “warmongering.” The poster also mocked Meghan McCain’s appearance and said she hopes “The View” co-host “chokes to death.”

DONALD TRUMP’S FEUD WITH McCAIN FAMILY ESCALATES: ‘I WAS NEVER A FAN’

Just hours before McCain posted the message on Twitter, President Trump took another shot at John McCain.

“I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be,” Trump told reporters at the White House, during a meeting with Brazil’s visiting president.

The comments came after Meghan McCain, who on Monday tore into the president during an emotional segment on “The View,” went back on the offensive on social media. The 34-year-old shared a Toronto Star cartoon on Instagram showing her late father’s military medals side-by-side with a collection of pacifiers under the heading “Donald Trump.”

Later in the night, Meghan McCain responded to Trump’s most recent attacks by tweeting, “As my father always used to say to me – Illegitimi non carborundum,” which means “Don’t let the b–tards grind you down.”

MEGHAN MCCAIN SLAMS DONALD TRUMP IN EMOTIONAL ‘THE VIEW’ SEGMENT: ‘HE WILL NEVER BE A GREAT MAN’

Trump has repeatedly tweeted about John McCain in recent days, falsely claiming the late senator graduated “last in his class” at Annapolis and slamming his role in the Russia investigation.

“So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) “last in his class” (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election. He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual). Even the Fake News refused this garbage!” Trump tweeted Sunday morning.

On Saturday, the president responded to reports McCain and an associate had shared with the FBI and various media outlets the unverified dossier alleging that Moscow held compromising information on Trump.

“Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier ‘is, unfortunately, a very dark stain against John McCain.’ Ken Starr, Former Independent Counsel,” Trump wrote.

MEGHAN McCAIN HAS SHARP RESPONSE TO TRUMP’S JOHN MCCAIN DOSSIER TWEET

New York, NY - 2017: (L-R) Senator John McCain, Meghan McCain on 'The View', a visit for Meghan McCain's birthday, Monday, October 23, 2017. (Photo by Heidi Gutman /ABC via Getty Images)

New York, NY – 2017: (L-R) Senator John McCain, Meghan McCain on ‘The View’, a visit for Meghan McCain’s birthday, Monday, October 23, 2017. (Photo by Heidi Gutman /ABC via Getty Images)

“He had far worse ‘stains’ than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace [of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act] after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!”

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Trump has made a practice of attacking McCain, even after the former Arizona senator’s death in August of last year.

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Trump to host Israel’s Netanyahu March 25-26: White House

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Trump to host Israel's Netanyahu March 25-26: White House

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, March 10, 2019. Gali Tibbon/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House next Monday and Tuesday, the White House said.

“The president and the prime minister will discuss their countries’ shared interests and actions in the Middle East during a working meeting on March 25,” the White House said in a statement on Wednesday. Trump will host Netanyahu at a dinner on March 26, it said.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Tim Ahmann

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